The driver license examining office has had unusually long wait times. People are flocking to get the new Star ID before October 2020.
People out at the state's office Wednesday said they waited for more than three hours to get the new ID. One woman said she had been there since the office opened Wednesday morning, and was still waiting by noon.
They will need the ID to board any flight in one year. Now, online appointments are booked for months.
"I went to make an appointment and I tried, but they said there won't be any available appointments for the rest of this year," David Patten, a driver at the examining office, said.
At Madison County's license department, you will not be able to get the Star ID. It's part of the reason why the office off Church Street in Huntsville has become crowded.
"We feel their pain. I wish there was something I, or the local county offices, could do to assist the state in this process," Madison County License Director Mark Craig said.
Craig said it is important to know the difference between the county office and the state office. He said the county office can only issue license renewals or replacements.
"You know a lot of people are wanting to get it," Craig said. "You know, when you have that many people rushing into the offices, and you know, one county basically has one state office in it, some counties don't have an office, so it's obviously going to be some wait time."
Craig said the online application option was created to help relieve wait times. People we spoke to said they think the state should open more offices or have more employees.
Statement from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency:
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) is implementing operational changes to accommodate higher volume in a number of its Driver License Examining Offices, including its Madison County location. The plan includes hiring additional Driver License Examiners and working to launch Saturday service at the Madison County office. In addition, the agency will bolster efforts to promote its online services – at https://www.alea.gov/online-services -- which include driver license renewals and duplicates; and ALEA’s “fast lane” option for renewals and duplicates in offices with three or more Driver License Examiners.
At the beginning of this month, ALEA expanded its Driver License operation at Redstone Arsenal, increasing service from one to two days each week. The office does not offer road skills tests, but it does welcome customers who would like to take the written skills test for learner permits.
ALEA also invites customers who would like to simply renew or obtain a duplicate driver license or non-driver ID to visit a county probate office, if they would rather not do so online (see link above).
Because the federal deadline for REAL ID-compliant identification is Oct. 1, 2020, ALEA’s Driver License Examining Offices may experience higher volume than usual at some of its offices, including the Church Street location in Huntsville. Appointments are not required; however, customers are welcome to visit www.alea.gov to schedule a time at one of the agency’s district offices across the state.
The Star ID program is a result of a change in federal law, which now requires four documents. They can only be issued by state licensing centers.
STAR ID is not required. Some individuals may never plan to fly or to enter federal facilities requiring REAL ID-compliant identification.
Individuals who have valid, unexpired U.S. passports may choose to use their passports for boarding commercial domestic flights, as well as for international travel.